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View Full Version : LTC Bob Batemen's EXCELLENT series on Gettysburg in Esquire



Albany Rifles
03 Jul 13,, 19:44
LTC Bob Batemen is a well respected US Army Infantry officer who has written much over the last decade plus while at war.

He always came to the fore when using American history to make a point...little wonder as he was an Assitant Professor of History at West Point.

He wrote an outstanding series of essays for the online edition of Esquire.

I should have mentioned these earlier.

He writes well and from a soldiers perspective. He also freely admitted in an e-mail exchange with me he didn't edit his posts...which accounts for soem of the grammatical issues.

Enjoy anyway.

They are powerful and come from a Soldier's heart and mind.

The stories of the Iron Brigade are stupendous....and all true.

Daily Politics Blog - Charles P. Pierce - Political Blogging - Esquire (http://www.esquire.com/archives/blogs/politics/by_tag/esquire%20gettysburg%20reenactment/15;1)

Albany Rifles
15 Aug 13,, 16:11
Shek alerted me to this article in Esquire from the ALWAYS excellent Bob Bateman.

He sums up my beliefs PERFECTLY, about my oath, about Lee and especially about Thomas.

Esquire Civil War Reenactment: Robert E. Lee and What an Oath Means - Esquire (http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/what-an-oath-means)


The Meaning of Oaths and a Forgotten Man
By Lt. Col. Robert Bateman at 10:15AM

Getty Images

General George Thomas, 1863



It is interesting to note that the “Welcome Center” to the State of Virginia is located just south of the Rappahannock River, in the town of Fredericksburg. This town sits about sixty miles south of the state border with Maryland and Washington, DC. The impression this gives is that Virginians do not consider areas north of the Rappahannock as part of the state. One need only scan 1862–1864 to understand why.

North of that river, which I have mentioned before, the United States dominated the terrain during the War of the Rebellion. It was only to the south of the Rappahannock that rebel armies held sway on a consistent basis, almost to the end. So it seems natural that recidivist state politicians of the past half-century would pander to those voters who were most vocal about the “glory and honor of the Old South.” One means of doing so was by making sure that the Welcome Center coming into their state from the “North” was nearly 60 miles south of the actual border, which rests on the south bank of the Potomac River.

In other words, they placed their “Welcome” center at what they consider the boundaries of the limits of the United States of America, versus where they think they live. Indeed, if you look at the map which the State of Virginia provides, it is almost comical how its “Welcome" centers parallel the de facto front lines of the period of rebellion, when they were fighting against the United States. Seriously, look at this map provided by Virginia and see the locations of “Welcome” centers #1, #12, and #2. Yep, now look again at all the others. Everywhere they have contact with the old states who fought against the United States, the “Welcome” center is right there at the border… but not towards the north.

Actually, strike that. It would be “almost comical,” as I just said, were it not simultaneously so sad. In general, I have observed that the attitudes towards loyalty to the United States vs. the Mythical Nation of Slavery still track pretty closely with those "Welcome" centers.

A little more than a decade ago I was going through a divorce. It was pretty ugly, and emotionally, it left me distracted and out of sorts. The Ex had decided on a course of action with another fellow, and I really could not stand by for that. Allegiances and oaths and vows sort of mean a lot to somebody like me, and this being the second time, that was the end of things. Somehow, however, it was I who ended up moving out of our nice home.

What followed was stereotypical for a divorce of this sort. I spent a lot of time after work going to local bars. All of them within walking distance from my apartment on a hillside known as Marye’s Heights, in the town where I lived. This was 2002.

Being disinclined to sociability at the time, when prompted by a fellow barfly into a conversation I did not feel like having, I would assess my interrogator. If he fit the profile (and so many did), I would counter-present a statement as a way of starting a “conversation.” That “profile” had nothing to do with socio-economic status, but it did have a hell of a lot to do with race, and the bugaboo of “heritage.” At least “heritage” as it is interpreted in rural Virginia anyway. Regardless of the topic he was trying to engage me on, I would parry. Then I would start a new conversation. My entree was, “I think that Robert E. Lee, as a traitor and betrayer of his solemn oath before God and the Constitution, was a much greater terrorist than Osama Bin Ladin… after all, Lee killed many more Americans than Bin Ladin, and almost destroyed the United States. What do you think?”

Yeah, I flunked “Subtle 101” in High School. Oh well. Like I said, I was not in a good place.

But the fact is that there was nothing that any of these men, and they were all men, could say in honest denial to my assertion. They sputtered and growled, spouted and shouted, but not once did it end well for them on any level. You see, if they were “unreconstructed rebels,” well then I was something almost none of them had ever experienced, an “unreconstructed Yankee.” What is more, at the intellectual level I was not playing fair.

Not only did I have the historical facts on my side, but I was also deliberately playing upon two southern biases which are nearly independent of politics: Reverence for military service, and reverence of the concept of “honor” and “oaths.” I am a military officer, Airborne and Ranger qualified. I swore an oath, almost exactly the same as the one Robert E. Lee had, to the United States. Most of those I confronted over barstools and tables in Fredericksburg eventually just asked to be let out of the argument, because I would not let go. I was alone, and angry, and historically versed, and my own G-G-G-Grandfather had actually fought there, not 300 yards from where my crappy apartment was, in 1862. And they were stunned, at the outset, that I was saying something that defied their understanding.

See, I really do think Robert E. Lee was a traitor who should have been executed. Polite people, nice folks in Fredericksburg and other southern places where I have been on a rip, are not used to hearing such a virulent assault upon “Marse Robert.” But when I feel like being left alone I am neither polite, nor Southern, and so when I am annoyed, I have in the past let loose upon the traitor. And he was that.

He had a choice. Lee chose to betray the United States. Some of his peers, Virginians through-and-through, with more reason than him to want to keep “slaves in their place,” decided not to betray our nation. These were men who decided to keep true to their oaths. These were men who believed in the nation. One, in particular, matters to this campaign we are talking about in Tennessee. His name was George Thomas.

Now we have a little time, in our narrative of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. It will be a few weeks before the ever-cautious Rosecrans gets off his duff and figures out how to flummox Braxton Bragg again. (SPOILER: He succeeds, and take Chattanooga.) So for now, let us look at the real central character. Of course, history demands context, so let us begin at the beginning.

George Thomas was fifteen years old in August 1831. His family was not mega-rich, but they were pretty well off. Remember at the time that there was damned little, north or south, that could be called a “middle class.” That whole construct really doesn’t come until after WWII. But if you were going to place his family, you would put them in “lower upper class.”

His family had a plantation in what is now known as the “Tidewater” region of Virginia, not too far from Yorktown. They owned slaves. Estimates range from 12-15, depending upon the year. His father had died three years earlier, in 1828, so George was stepped up. Young George had played with the slaves as a child, and as a teen, had illicitly and secretly been teaching some of them to read. Do not assume that he was an abolitionist from this. Only acknowledge his developing appreciation of humanity. But that year something would happen that would shake his entire world, and which should have made him into the most racist-slave-owning radical extant. In that year, a slave named Nat Turner initiated a revolt, very close to the Thomas plantation. And by very close, I am talking thousands of yards.

When word of the slave revolt hit his own family plantation, young George drove the horses as the family and many of their own slaves tried to escape the circle of violence. They did not run fast enough, the pursuit was gaining and in a desperate measure the teenaged George led the family off the road and into the swamps for succor. Eight days later, with some sixty of his white neighbors now slaughtered, he led the family back. Probably more than 200 African-Americans, slaves and non-slaves were dead as well, without justice or question. But the terror that Nat Turner’s rebellion brought to the slave-holding south cannot be underestimated. Yet George Thomas did not succumb.

In 1836, he went to West Point, to become an Army officer. He graduated, twelfth in his class in 1840. The oath he swore went like this: "I, _____, appointed a _____ in the Army of the United States, do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will bear true allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever, and observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the rules and articles for the government of the Armies of the United States."

The oath I, and all modern officers swear, runs this way: "I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Not a whole lot of difference, at least in the swearing to the United States bit, eh? Hence my annoyance with those who defend Lee. Of course, almost none of them know about the loyal officer, Thomas.

After his commissioning from West Point he served in the Seminole Wars and the Mexican-American War, and fought well in both cases. Between the wars he developed as an officer of the United States, until the crisis appeared.

Thomas was in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, when the word of the fall of Fort Sumter arrived in the Spring of 1861. He, unlike his fellow Virginian, the betrayer Robert E. Lee, knew where his duty rested. There was an oath, he had sworn to it, and that was the end of things. He immediately wrote to his wife. In that letter he summed up the difference between himself and those who sought to destroy the United States of America.

“Whichever way I turned the matter over in my mind,” he wrote, “my oath of allegiance to the Federal government always came uppermost.”

Then, this Virginian, no, this American, officer, went to a federal magistrate there in Carlisle and renewed his oath to the United States of America. Three days later Virginia stated that it was in rebellion against the United States. In his family home in Tidewater Virginia, nearly six-hundred miles away, his sisters took George Thomas’s picture off the wall and effectively disowned him.

I acknowledge that the whole idea of an “oath” actually meaning something in the “modern” age may not resonate with everyone. I do not really know how to bring this into the present for most of you. The social/intellectual/emotional concept of individual honor has sort of changed a lot in the past 150 years. Unfortunately sometimes I really do not understand those of you who do not feel deeply about honor.

This is not because I am a historian. It is because I swore essentially that same oath that George Thomas and Robert Lee swore, and I was taught to mean it when I swore an oath or make a pledge. But even so, even I do not think that my own emotional and psychological commitment to my oath is as deep as these things were in the early-mid 19th Century. So Lee’s treason, his betrayal of his oath as an officer of the United States Army, is sort of personal to me, and I am offended by his lying (if he never meant it when he swore the oath) or his two-faced nature, if he did. Snowden? Manning? Pshaw. They are nothing compared to a man who actually commanded forces that killed tens of thousands of American soldiers. I resent Lee's subsequent fame which stemmed solely from his ability to kill American soldiers. As an American soldier, that strikes me as wrong.

What strikes me as even more unfair is that at the same time, George Thomas rejected the course of political and familial opportunism and stayed true to his oath. He won on the battlefield, over and over again, and defended the United States with his every action, and now he is largely forgotten.

Ultimately Thomas would become, as judged by some of his peers and not a few historians, as the greatest general the United States had during the War of the Rebellion. Grant smashed his way to victory. You could argue that Sherman never won a battle all his own. But Thomas, distrusted by the Administration, held suspect at times by the American public, and detested by his own family for staying true to his oath, ultimately destroyed two entire rebel armies, and saved two American armies, by his own abilities, example, and skill.

He was, in the end, the man true to his oath. As opposed to the others he fought.


Read more: Esquire Civil War Reenactment: Robert E. Lee and What an Oath Means - Esquire
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Officer of Engineers
15 Aug 13,, 16:45
As I read this, images of Yugoslavia came to mind. Families torn apart. Violence on brother. And when the war ends, you have to look your family in the eye. Right or wrong, can you ask for forgiveness and can you forgive?

The price on Gen Thomas's soul to keep his Oath is something very few would think of, let alone try to understand.

Mihais
15 Aug 13,, 17:22
Stauffenberg also was a traitor,legally speaking.And whatever the LTC has sworn,there is no way to experience what Lee and the others in his position felt,until the federal gov. will send troops against some that want to secede.

We know Lee had an inner fight.Likely every former US officer of the CSA had.It wasn't an easy decision.
In '89 some mischiefs proclaimed places free of communism.Bloody traitors broke the laws of the socialist republic,were enemies of the revolutionary conquests of the people and opposed the best form of society mankind has ever designed.Do you shoot them or you don't?

Albany Rifles
15 Aug 13,, 19:25
As I read this, images of Yugoslavia came to mind. Families torn apart. Violence on brother. And when the war ends, you have to look your family in the eye. Right or wrong, can you ask for forgiveness and can you forgive?

The price on Gen Thomas's soul to keep his Oath is something very few would think of, let alone try to understand.

Colonel,

Thomas did pay a high price with his family. In fact he was disowned for life and never reconciled with his siblings. Part of that bitterness is reflected in when he tried to send his sisters money after the war when much of the South was poor and destitute they refused the funds saying they had no brother. And while he died in San Francisco he chose to be buried in his wife's family plot in Troy, NY, well upstate.


He established the first National military cemetery in Chattanooga on 24 Dec. 63. When the chaplain of the Army of the Cumberland asked if the remains should be interred according to state origin: "Mix them up. I'm tired of states' rights."

I have always said that Lee and his fellow officers who chose not to fight for the United States had the right to resign. If they had chosen to sit out the war I would have no argument. That they violated the same oath I took and took arms against their country is the act for which I can never forgive them.

TopHatter
15 Aug 13,, 21:35
When the chaplain of the Army of the Cumberland asked if the remains should be interred according to state origin: "Mix them up. I'm tired of states' rights."

1,030,000 dead and wounded...yeah, I imagine he was. I would've been a bit more profane about it but that was a chaplain asking after all.

Mihais
15 Aug 13,, 21:56
I have always said that Lee and his fellow officers who chose not to fight for the United States had the right to resign. If they had chosen to sit out the war I would have no argument. That they violated the same oath I took and took arms against their country is the act for which I can never forgive them.


Sir,I don't think it's that simple.In a normal war,against a foreign foe,we can resign.There are times when an officer can't take responsability,when serious disagreement between him and the leadership exists.Plenty of cases of officers who asked to be sent elsewhere.Even as a private on the frontline.But sitting out is not an option.
I don't know enough about the personal decisions of every ex-USA officer.But the US was sending armed forces against their families.Thomas paid the price.Others saw this as a break on the state's part of the oath.In either case,there is treason.You either betray the oath or you betray your people.

zraver
15 Aug 13,, 22:04
AR, how many Boston militia officers, not to mention George Washington betrayed their oaths to King George?

Albany Rifles
16 Aug 13,, 03:02
AR, how many Boston militia officers, not to mention George Washington betrayed their oaths to King George?

Z, very few if any. There was no oath sworn to the King as a militia officer since the crown did not recognize militia service as other than armed inventured servitude. If they swore an oath (it differed by colony) it was to the governor of their colony. In Virginia militia officers were commissioned by the House of Burgesses.

The crown refused to even award battle honors to militia forces for their service...one more reason why the colonists had a gripe.

Mihais, while I dont disagree with what you discuss there were too many officers who stayed loyal for there to be much wiggle room. BTW almost all USN officers stayed loyal.

And the Federal government did not send troops aginst their families. They sent justifiably constituted legal forces against groups in rebellion....something which had been done several times previously by the Federal government

zraver
16 Aug 13,, 03:50
Z, very few if any. There was no oath sworn to the King as a militia officer since the crown did not recognize militia service as other than armed inventured servitude. If they swore an oath (it differed by colony) it was to the governor of their colony. In Virginia militia officers were commissioned by the House of Burgesses.

The crown refused to even award battle honors to militia forces for their service...one more reason why the colonists had a gripe.

First I am no fan of Lee, I've learned enough here to not buy the hype about him.

My ultimate point was that the English tradition of rebellion we inherited, (in Robert E Lees case only 1 generation removed from such rebellion), clearly put oaths of loyalty to the sovereign be it king or constitution second to ones home and personal moral compass. To say Lee was a traitor given two critical facts- he resigned his commission and was thus no longer a soldier, and the widely held belief among many that the right of secession was in fact a legal right retained by the states is in my opinion harsh. He after all did not desert from the USAR and enlist with the CSAR, but was an officer with the state forces of Virginia. It was in the uniform of a Virginian, and after Virginia seceded that he mustered into confederate service.

There is no evidence he did so for personal gain the way say Jefferson Davis did. There is a man who should have been hung. I can even buy the colonels arguments towards any officer who abandoned his post in the USAR in favor of the CSA. But that does not apply to Lee.

Albany Rifles
16 Aug 13,, 14:32
He walked away when his country specifically asked for his help. And as an officer your oath is for lifetime...even if you resign. I still hold myself to the oath I swore regarding the defense of the Constitution 34 years later...that is a very common trait shared by my fellow officers....going back almost 240 years.

As for Lee's pull towards rebellion....Thomas faced the EXACT same pressures yet made a point that his oath to the Constitution was paramount. If anything he had a greater dog in the secession hunt than Lee. He LIVED the Nat Turner Rebellion as LTC Bateman pointed out. Yet he maintained his loyalty to his grave.

On the argument regarding the Confederate leadership traitorous or not? There is no daylight between the good LTC Bateman and myself....2 unreconstructed Yankees.

Mihais
16 Aug 13,, 15:50
Sir,I see such radicalism as fortunate for you.Your life is simple.The very fact you are so passionate about events 150 years ago in itself speaks volumes.You don't have to decide like these folks had:Anton Tus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Tus) Janko Bobetko - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janko_Bobetko) For all the differences,there are similarities between Confederate officers and other cases.I don't envy either.

Albany Rifles
16 Aug 13,, 16:55
Sir,I see such radicalism as fortunate for you.Your life is simple.The very fact you are so passionate about events 150 years ago in itself speaks volumes.You don't have to decide like these folks had:Anton Tus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Tus) Janko Bobetko - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janko_Bobetko) For all the differences,there are similarities between Confederate officers and other cases.I don't envy either.

Mihais,

I do try to avoid historicism in this matter....which I find sorely lacking in the Neo-Confederate community.

But I know folks like myself and LTC Bateman stand on firm because a lot of men like George Thomas faced those hard choices and made the right and moral call.

And I want to be clear I am ONLY speaking of ACW not other countries. I have no depth to form an opinion there.

Mihais
16 Aug 13,, 17:27
Mihais,

I do try to avoid historicism in this matter....which I find sorely lacking in the Neo-Confederate community.

But I know folks like myself and LTC Bateman stand on firm because a lot of men like George Thomas faced those hard choices and made the right and moral call.

And I want to be clear I am ONLY speaking of ACW not other countries. I have no depth to form an opinion there.

Sir,I'm OK with this.My point is that this aspect of ACW is not that unique.And you're lucky you only have ACW as a reference wrt right and moral calls.

zraver
16 Aug 13,, 17:42
He walked away when his country specifically asked for his help. And as an officer your oath is for lifetime...even if you resign. I still hold myself to the oath I swore regarding the defense of the Constitution 34 years later...that is a very common trait shared by my fellow officers....going back almost 240 years.

So if the federal government asked you to shoot down your neighbors you would? That is what he felt he was being asked to do. He asked to be allowed to sit it out. We had garrisons along the Canadian and Indian borders. This request was refused and he resigned. This is not neo-confederacy its personal accountability. After all this is the US with its English and enlightenment traditions not a German Reich.

zraver
16 Aug 13,, 17:45
But I know folks like myself and LTC Bateman stand on firm because a lot of men like George Thomas faced those hard choices and made the right and moral call.

The split went something like 60/40 so clearly opinion was divided. Winning by itself does not make something right and moral. We don't face the same pressures they do, outside of some nuts in Texas there is no national conversation on the right of secession. By the the thinking of a great many at the time, Virginia was no longer part of the US and Lee no longer an American when he became a confederate officer. He did not abandon his post, did not desert.

I say save the treason label for those officers who abandoned and deserted, or those politicians who for personal gain created the situation in the first place.

Albany Rifles
16 Aug 13,, 20:52
But Z, that is exactly my point. Those officers who served for the Confederacy did abandon and desert.

And actually it was 70/30. Of 925 USMA graduates who fought in the war 642 fought for the Union and 283 for the Confederacy.
And 23% of USNA graduates served the CSN.

The is not a knock on you but you were an enlisted man who honorably served. Trust me...it is an entirely different perspective as an officer. The lens I look through is completely different than yours. Not better or superior, different. Trust me, Bob Bateman. S2, Shek and I have more in common with the Colonel, Delta and Lemontree and the other commissioned members of the WAB than we do with the former/retired enlisted. Not better, different.

I was enlisted before I was commissioned. I was stunned by the difference.

So I guess we will respectfully agree to disagree.

Mihais
16 Aug 13,, 21:01
The level of responsability,both in terms of money and human welfare is certainly something few folks will want to have once they get to know it,let alone handle.

zraver
16 Aug 13,, 21:06
But Z, that is exactly my point. Those officers who served for the Confederacy did abandon and desert.

The is not a knock on you but you were an enlisted man who honorably served. Trust me...it is an entirely different perspective as an officer. The lens I look through is completely different than yours. Not better or superior, different. Trust me, Bob Bateman. S2, Shek and I have more in common with the Colonel, Delta and Lemontree and the other commissioned members of the WAB than we do with the former/retired enlisted. Not better, different.

I was enlisted before I was commissioned. I was stunned by the difference.

So I guess we will respectfully agree to disagree.

No, in the case specifically of lee, I owe you an apology. I thought he resigned his commission in Feb 1861 well before Ft Sumter and before Virginia secession. Had a big old case built up around that fact only to find out he resigned 7 days after the bombardment began.

Though I maintain that officers who resigned prior to the firing on Ft Sumter cannot be traitors.

desertswo
17 Aug 13,, 00:22
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!

I don't know LTC Bateman, so I take him and everyone else here at their word that he is/was a commissioned officer in the United States Army. I will also stipulate to the information that states that he is a professor of history at the United States Military Academy. It is important that those facts are established because they become somewhat problematic within the context of the VERY LARGE ERROR IN HIS ESSAY that he should never have put to paper, and Esquire editors, had they been worth their salt, should have caught, because frankly, he is hoist on his own petard through its use.

To what am I referring? The passage in which he discusses the modern commissioned officers' oath of office, to wit:

The oath I, and all modern officers swear, runs this way: "I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

With all due respect to LTC Bateman, I did take that oath . . . when I was ENLISTED as an OCUI2 at the Naval Training Center San Diego. “OCUI” stood for “Officer Candidate Under Instruction.” The “2” meant that I was for pay purposes, a Petty Officer Second Class, or E-5 if one prefers. I was in fact “enlisted,” so that was the oath I took, and the simple fact, and glaring error in his argument, is that the Oath that LTC Bateman has presented for our perusal is the modern day Oath of Enlistment, and not the Commissioned Officers' Oath of Office.

I have the Oath of Enlistment seared into my brain because as a young Ensign I watched as the CO, then Captain Leon A. "Bud" Edney (later Vice Chief of Naval Operations and Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Admiral Bud Edney, USN) re-enlisted one of Constellation's crew members on the bridge while we were operating in the Northern Arabian Sea during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Afterward, during a private moment, Captain Edney told me never to read that Oath off some piece of paper whilst reenlisting some young person who has decided to give four or six more years of his or her life to the Navy. That one should understand the significance of that commitment and that when it was my turn to re-enlist someone, I should memorize that Oath, and treat the ceremony with the utmost gravitas, which in his view, was certainly warranted. It does indeed have that sense of gravitas in my mind to this day. It is an Oath that I do take seriously, but no more so than this one:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

THAT is the Commissioned Officers’ Oath of Office, and that one is actually special in ways that LTC Bateman has failed to note, which I find surprising given both his rank and his position. However, YOU will all note that there is no mention in the officers’ Oath with regard to obeying the orders of the President or the orders of any officer appointed over us. These Oaths are different for a reason. It is because as commissioned officers, we are supposed to THINK and not just blindly act like automatons. “I was only obeying orders . . .” was forever obviated by the results of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) held between 20 November 1945 and 01 October 1946. Commonly known as the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, the precedents that were set, and for which several men were hanged, means not only can we think for ourselves, but WE MUST THINK FOR OURSELVES.

In fact, it is expected that an officer adhering to this Oath WILL NOT OBEY any order that is unlawful and/or unconstitutional. Taken in that light, LTC Bateman’s position is not quite as tenable as it would seem at first reading. Moreover, that he should make such a glaring error puts the rest of his scholarship in question. Just saying.

Moving on to a tangential train of reasoning, I first took that particular Oath on 16 February 1979, and for the last time on 01 June 2000. There were five other times in between; four for promotions, and one when I was rolled over into the regular Navy as a LTJG from the initial USNR status under which all OCS graduates were commissioned back in the day.

In looking back over the nearly 25 years of my career, I have come to the conclusions that we don't often think that when signing on the dotted line and saying, "I do" with the military, it really might mean "for life" down to the very essence of that term. It’s all fun and games until it isn’t, and God is good . . . until He ain’t. Have you ever noticed the way in which the terrorist attacks on 9/11 are sort of remembered with all sorts of solemnity regarding the World Trade Center, and even United Flight 93? Both are discussed and treated with great reverence as well they should. However, I sometimes feel as if the attack on the Pentagon is given short shrift. I’ve had others, unbidden, mention that perception as well, and you know how it is. Perceptions are reality to those who hold them. That being the case, every 9/11 passes, and flags are lowered to half-staff, and the various talking heads on the tube do their thing, and the Twin Towers and “Let’s roll” will get their due, and “Oh yeah, and the Pentagon too” will happen yet again (at least that’s how some see and “feel” it), and to those of us who were there, like me, it will be one more time when one is left with a unique feeling. “And what feeling is that Captain?” I hear you ask. It’s the feeling that the Pentagon is inconsequential compared to the World Trade Center and Flight 93, because WE, WHETHER OFFICER OR ENLISTED, TOOK THOSE OATHS, AND BEING WOUNDED OR KILLED IS PART OF THE DEAL! So it’s expected that we might die in the execution of our duties, even while seated at a desk in the First Floor, E-Ring, River Entrance Side.

I wasn’t there long after the initial event, because I wore what we used to call the “Not Dead Man Walking Badge” and was transported quickly to “Site R” where I became part of the so called “shadow government.” What actually was the OSD and Joint Staffs executing the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) we had been working together on for nearly three years for just such an occasion, worked as planned and the National Military Command Center (NMCC) never missed a beat at either location, because we were there under the mountain following right along with what they were doing Third Deck, D-Ring, Riverside Entrance where classic rock music is played rather loudly 24/7. They could have shifted operations to us in a nanosecond and no one would have been the wiser. Somehow, that capability, and the fact that the Vice-President was there was twisted by the mediots into something sinister instead of “a good idea to keep things going when something breaks or POTUS is out of the loop.”

Well, I got off on a tangent, but one wonders just what constitutes a “traitor” or “treasonous” activity today? Personally, I believe there are a whole bunch of empty suits in DC that fit that mold. I believe they have not supported and defended the Constitution as they were sworn to do, and instead have done everything they can to trample that holy document under foot, and they have done it with malice aforethought . . . but that’s just me. They reside on both sides of the aisle politically and none of them are fit to serve in my opinion.

Regardless, if they cannot protect the Constitution, then we should find some people who will. People who would work toward having far fewer of those laws created under the guise of “penumbras and emanations.” If you don’t know what that means, think of the 3rd Amendment and the quartering of troops, and what the hell does that have to do with anything? Ponder a while and you’ll figure it out, and it will be far more personally satisfying than me telling you.

Perhaps I’m old fashioned, or “old school” and the rule of law and burden of proof, and the right to privacy, and to keep and bear arms, and to hang around with people I like without fear of being labeled a “hater” (the next 16-year old who uses that non-word within a three-foot radius of me will have to take his shirt off to take a shit after I get done kicking his ass), and other time honored concepts that I hold dear aren’t “new school” enough for the likes of “new school” geniuses like Rachel Jeantel, but I feel keenly that some of us “old school” people are needed to support and defend the Constitution. You know, when I was a young man on my first deployment just after New Year 1979, I knew who the foreign enemies were:

Soviet Union – Check
Iran – Check
Cuba – (Giggling ) Check
The Mama-san at my favorite bar in Olangapo - Check;)
Warsaw Pact Countries Other Than Soviet Union – (What day of the week is it?) Check
France – “Che . . . Oh . . . wait . . . never mind!”:biggrin:
Libya – Check (I miss the dude in the ski suits and shades. Sigh, sob, sob, sniff, sniff)
China – Not yet
Vietnam – Not anymore; besides, they’re kicking China’s ass
Mexico – Check
Canada – Check, but only the French part:eek:

As I said, I knew who the foreign enemies were; we all did. However, those domestic ones were kind of fuzzy, diffuse and out of focus. Seriously, I cannot think of anyone who I would consider truly dangerous were I to be transported back to that era. Today however, my cup runneth over, and it ain’t with love! I’m afraid that I cannot think of one who isn’t in government either, and I personally find that frightening. My own Senator McCain has totally left the ionosphere and is now about 4th or 5th stone from the Sun. Seriously, Republican or Democrat, they are all total wastes of human flesh. The thing is that some of these people are ruining the country just out of sheer stupidity or greed. I believe however, that some are purposely working to bring this country to its knees both economically and militarily. I’ll leave it to you to decide who that might be; it’s not hard to arrive at a conclusion.

The problem is, how does one defeat such an enemy? I’m afraid that the answer is not something any of us wants to think about, and so I shan’t. Strangely though, someone else is thinking awfully hard about stopping such an effort. One wonders why that might be? Are “we” really that scary? Are they really that afraid of “us?”

“You are babbling Captain!” I can hear you say. No, but I’m approaching things from very oblique angles. That’s because I’ve been there; done that. When I was at the Naval War College 15-years ago, I worked on a small (four person team) project to shape a proposed force to defeat an insurgency. So, big deal, lots of people have done that, I’m sure”, you say. True. It’s the “where” and “who” of the insurgency that got people’s attention. The good ole US of A, and borrowing from the old comic strip “Pogo,” we had met the enemy, “and he is ‘us’!!” The resulting report and proposal for force size, composition, Table of Organization and Equipment, etc., etc., etc. got slapped with a Secret classification and was archived in the vault without seeing much of the light of day. Got a good grade too, but clearly we had struck a nerve somewhere. The interesting thing is that we used open source material. Nothing was originally classified, but sometimes, with knowledge a priori, or unwittingly, connecting dots brings results that cause someone’s hair to catch on fire, so things get classified way beyond whatever is really required and one is left without the finished product to coo over and show friends, or even publish if you think it’s good enough (I did once; it’s shit but the Chinese seem to like it for some reason). Personally, I believe it wasn’t the proposed force size and shape, or the TOE that was the issue, but the “enemy” we dreamed up that the insurgency sought to dislodge, and the makeup of the insurgents themselves.

It seems the enemy “looked” an awful lot like “us.” R/Mike

Gun Grape
17 Aug 13,, 04:30
But Z, that is exactly my point. Those officers who served for the Confederacy did abandon and desert.

And actually it was 70/30. Of 925 USMA graduates who fought in the war 642 fought for the Union and 283 for the Confederacy.
And 23% of USNA graduates served the CSN.

Only 16 USMC officers abandoned and deserted. (and around 100 enlisted)

Their names were stricken from the rolls of the Marine Corps.

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 14:56
If the South had won, this would have been a very different conversation.

"Victor writes the history" or "Victor writes the rules". I view the Nuremburg trials as a sham because "I was only following orders" defense was held up in prior acts by Allied officers against Axis population and personnel and even before WWII, "I was only following orders" defense was held up. If it was not such a defense, then Gen. Dyer's actions would have been a war crime but yet he was celebrated in Britain.

So I am sorry, but I view these kind of conversations re past actions with respect to ACW and Axis evil and actions such as the acts of Germany and Japan with associated evilness with disdain because these talkers conveniently ignored the actions of the Allies that would have been classified as war crimes under the Nuremburg Trials standards.

The only true thing that comes out of it is that "the Victor write the rules" and the North won the war so it gets to say the South was wrong and immoral blah blah blah same way with WWII, blah blah blah.

Do you know why I am cynical about this? It is because I have yet to see the Allied countries take up notice and take responsibilities for their past actions and acknowledge the truth of it but we never will, because allied countries won and get to write their own rules.

By the way, I view slavery as one of the greatest evils that mankind ever perpetuated and that US did engage in a great evil on the same level that Nazi germany did with the Holocaust only that US is not made to feel that pain because it was not defeated by a foreign power and shown the "error of her ways". Same shit with Britain with its colonialism. I have seen posters here defend the virtues of colonialism even in India and other countries whereas the majority of the natives in such countries strongly and vehemently disagree with such notions.

Sorry I don't prescribe to the Western way of group thinking.

Enough of my rant.

Officer of Engineers
17 Aug 13,, 15:31
And your view of the British Indian Army?

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 15:40
And your view of the British Indian Army?

You already know my views on this. A choice between two evils and fighting for the crown was the lesser evil. I am proud that our Indian soldiers fought galantly in face of danger and death but I do not view the BIA as a glorious chapter in India's history, only something that we have to live with and that BIA was the means to an end, i.e., securing an unified army capable of unifying and controlling India and turn the tables back on the British occupiers.

I will tell you this. If it wasn't for Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, British would have not cave into Indian demands for independence. It would have been far more bloodier. Eventually India would get independence but it would be a totally different outcome today.

Officer of Engineers
17 Aug 13,, 15:48
If it would not have been the Brits, it would have been the Russians or the Japanese. India was far too rich ... and like China at the time, far too weak, not to invite plunderers.

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 15:51
If it would not have been the Brits, it would have been the Russians or the Japanese. India was far too rich ... and like China at the time, far too weak, not to invite plunderers.

And that makes it ok? If so, the logic of it is astounding.

Officer of Engineers
17 Aug 13,, 15:55
What's OK got anything to do with it? It was the reality. India got too fat and too lazy.

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 15:58
What's OK got anything to do with it? It was the reality. India got too fat and too lazy.

So you are blaming it on the victim. What does that say about China who got raped and plundered by Japanese? China got too fat and lazy and therefore it must deserve what it got.

I am just applying your logic at work here.

Officer of Engineers
17 Aug 13,, 16:17
So you are blaming it on the victim.This is world history. This is what happened.

What does that say about China who got raped and plundered by Japanese?You can add the Aztecs by the Spaniards and the Ottomans by the Russians. It has nothing to do with blaming the victim but everything to do with not being strong enough to repel robbers.
China got too fat and lazy and therefore it must deserve what it got.Kung fu vs repeating rifles. What do you think? And may I remind you that India was in on the plunder of China.

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 16:24
This is world history. This is what happened.
You can add the Aztecs by the Spaniards and the Ottomans by the Russians. It has nothing to do with blaming the victim but everything to do with not being strong enough to repel robbers.Kung fu vs repeating rifles. What do you think? And may I remind you that India was in on the plunder of China.

yes I am aware of all that so why the deep indignation against the Japanese when you and others are so quick to forget the acts of the western powers? was it because Japan was the last aggressor and until a new aggressor comes along, Japan will remain the bad guy?

By the way, I place a lot of blame on the squabbling Indian kings and maharajas for allowing British to come in and plunder.

Officer of Engineers
17 Aug 13,, 16:28
They started the war. They lost. And we still have yet to collect our pound of flesh, especially when they took theirs from PoW. I will never stop supporting my Hong Kong guys from getting their just compensation from the Japanese just as I will never stop supporting former comfort women from getting what they need - an acknowledgement and compensation for the crimes comitted against them and in the case of unwanted children by the IJA, family support for that one generation.

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 16:35
They started the war. They lost.
Victor's sentiments and sense of justice. An argument can be made that western powers started the whole conflict by encroaching into the oriental sphere and to protect itself, japan had to make itself a strong foreign power, blah blah blah.



And we still have yet to collect our pound of flesh, especially when they took theirs from PoW. I will never stop supporting my Hong Kong guys from getting their just compensation from the Japanese just as I will never stop supporting former comfort women from getting what they need - an acknowledgement and compensation for the crimes committed against them and in the case of unwanted children by the IJA, family support for that one generation.

Fair enough just as I will never stop supporting Indians and others who have been harmed by the British occupiers and actions. They probably will never get compensation. So in that vein, I will never support any kind of compensation given to British citizens like i did not support the Lockerbie compensation because it was so lopsided and the British never gave any compensation to others in a fair fashion.

The same way that US citizens demand compensations from other countries when USA refuses to compensate others or in the same manner as its citizens were compensated, i.e., the value of US citizens' lives are like 1o to 100 times the value of other countries' citizens' lives.

Officer of Engineers
17 Aug 13,, 16:38
Note I do place a limit on one generation. The grandkids should have no say other than to get an apology for their grandmother ... which probably will happen 100 years from now.

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 16:42
Note I do place a limit on one generation. The grandkids should have no say other than to get an apology for their grandmother ... which probably will happen 100 years from now.

And the western powers has placed that standards and then conveniently continue to deny reparations until the last member of the generation dies and then apologizes. So how is Japan doing any different from what Britain and US have done?

Officer of Engineers
17 Aug 13,, 16:46
Nothing but that does not mean we let them off the hook, especially when they were the ones who lost the war that they started.

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 16:50
Nothing but that does not mean we let them off the hook, especially when they were the ones who lost the war that they started.

See my above edited comments in post #32

astralis
17 Aug 13,, 16:57
BM,


Fair enough just as I will never stop supporting Indians and others who have been harmed by the British occupiers and actions. They probably will never get compensation. So in that vein, I will never support any kind of compensation given to British citizens like i did not support the Lockerbie compensation because it was so lopsided and the British never gave any compensation to others in a fair fashion.

be careful when making this argument. this is a false equivalence. yes, british imperialism was no walk in the park, but as OoE said, given where "india" (a concept that didn't exist until the late-19th century) was in history, it wasn't a choice between british imperialism and freedom.

it was going to be between british imperialism, or russian imperialism, or japanese imperialism. possibly french.

and by far the least of the evils were the british. there is no comparison between the british and the japanese experience of 1895-1945.

Officer of Engineers
17 Aug 13,, 16:57
Victor's sentiments and sense of justice. An argument can be made that western powers started the whole conflict by encroaching into the oriental sphere and to protect itself, japan had to make itself a strong foreign power, blah blah blah.By attacking China and Korea? Pearl Harbour happened because the US cut off oil.


The same way that US citizens demand compensations from other countries when USA refuses to compensate others or in the same manner as its citizens were compensated, i.e., the value of US citizens' lives are like 1o to 100 times the value of other countries' citizens' lives.The current actions of all former POWs and comfort women have no government support other than moral.

In this sense, the US is no different than everybody else.

Doktor
17 Aug 13,, 17:02
BM,



be careful when making this argument. this is a false equivalence. yes, british imperialism was no walk in the park, but as OoE said, given where "india" (a concept that didn't exist until the late-19th century) was in history, it wasn't a choice between british imperialism and freedom.

it was going to be between british imperialism, or russian imperialism, or japanese imperialism. possibly french.

and by far the least of the evils were the british. there is no comparison between the british and the japanese experience of 1895-1945.

Astralis,

BM is not judging the Russian or the Japanese or the Chinese. He is judging the actions of superpowers when they are on the different end of the stick.
His example with India and Brits is valid just because it did happened that way. We can't know what would be if only, simply because it didn't happen.

I am sure the Irish don't share your view as the Brits being the best possible scenario.

Albany Rifles
17 Aug 13,, 17:53
Desert SWO you are correct and above has amended his comments accordingly.

That said I am arguing and extremely fine point based on actions taken by individuals based on actions taken by others....i.e. Lee/Thomas.

Also when you see the numbers of who "went South" versus who stayed loyal to the Union there were a LOT of officers who remained true to their oath. That has always been where I ground my argument.

And I do not try to convert others...but I will argue!

Also I am making an historical point and do not try to apply actions to today's politicians. Know why? Because the politicians of 1840-1870 were much WORSE than who we have today.

Albany Rifles
17 Aug 13,, 17:57
Blademaster

Yeah we suck....but we're better than most. And we do tend to prosecute our war criminals in most cases....though I would like to see a few more prosecutions vis-a-via Abu Ghraib and torture.

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 17:59
By attacking China and Korea? Pearl Harbour happened because the US cut off oil.


What I am trying to say is if Japan won, she would have said that you guys, the western powers, started the whole thing by getting into China and Japan was fearing for her safety since you could be using China as a staging base to launch an invasion into Japan, et cetera et cetera.

Hence, my point: Victor's sentiment and sense of justice.



The current actions of all former POWs and comfort women have no government support other than moral.

In this sense, the US is no different than everybody else.

Some former hostages were trying to use the fed courts to seize Iranian assets as compensation. Don't know how far they got.

Blademaster
17 Aug 13,, 18:01
Blademaster

Yeah we suck....but we're better than most. And we do tend to prosecute our war criminals in most cases....though I would like to see a few more prosecutions vis-a-via Abu Ghraib and torture.

I am not saying US is a bad country or it sucks. I believe in America and believe that America is a lot better country than many countries but don't expect me to think like a groupie. I know the limits of America's righteousness and morality and just cannot accept what some people are preaching regarding America's virtues.

Albany Rifles
17 Aug 13,, 20:25
Blademaster

My "preaching" is reserved for home grown outrage. Even my occasional tirades against Japan is grounded of their treatment of other nations of Asia during WW 2.

And their treatment of Allied POWs.

Doktor
17 Aug 13,, 20:49
I am not saying US is a bad country or it sucks. I believe in America and believe that America is a lot better country than many countries but don't expect me to think like a groupie. I know the limits of America's righteousness and morality and just cannot accept what some people are preaching regarding America's virtues.

It is still better then vast majority of the countries out there.
Hey, nobody's perfect.

Mihais
17 Aug 13,, 21:05
Our President is.He said so. :biggrin:

Really,US is ok.It is,or at least it was, the second finest country in the world.After Switzerland :)

Officer of Engineers
17 Aug 13,, 21:20
The US is the best country in the world. She makes our lives in other countries so much better. I mean, who else would take Celine Dion off our hands?

Albany Rifles
18 Aug 13,, 04:12
The US is the best country in the world. She makes our lives in other countries so much better. I mean, who else would take Celine Dion off our hands?


Sir, that is only because North Korea won the coin toss.

Blademaster
18 Aug 13,, 13:01
Blademaster

My "preaching" is reserved for home grown outrage. Even my occasional tirades against Japan is grounded of their treatment of other nations of Asia during WW 2.

And their treatment of Allied POWs.

I know all about Japan's treatment of POWs and the Asian nations. I can understand the homegrown outrage of these things just as I expect the homegrown outrage at the western powers' actions and even India's.

It is a two way street. But the problem I see is that I think I have seen too much of victor's justice and sense of right going around these days.

Blademaster
18 Aug 13,, 13:05
It is still better then vast majority of the countries out there.
Hey, nobody's perfect.

That I completely agree with. In fact, of all the countries right now, I think America is the best one, even better than my birth country, India just because of the system set up that allows for individualistic excellence and opportunity and the rule of law and order (even though I think the law enforcement is kinda getting out of hand and control, bordering on the excessive leading to a beginning of a police state). There are other qualities that I admire about America and its people but that doesn't make me blind to the unsavory parts of America in the same way I am not blind to India's unsavory parts.

Blademaster
18 Aug 13,, 13:10
The US is the best country in the world. She makes our lives in other countries so much better. I mean, who else would take Celine Dion off our hands?


And give us Big Mac, Baywatch, Coke, NFL football, Star trek, Star wars, porn, and one of the best of all, King Ralph!!

33613

Doktor
18 Aug 13,, 13:56
And give us Big Mac, Baywatch, Coke, NFL football, Star trek, Star wars, porn, and one of the best of all, King Ralph!!

...iMac, NHL Hockey (with Canadians), Fred Flinstone ;)

Albany Rifles
18 Aug 13,, 18:45
My favorite scene in King Ralph is when he throws the frisbee to the corgis (while sporting a kilt) and says, "Okay guys...one last time!"

JAD_333
19 Aug 13,, 05:29
I read most of the Bateman essays. Thanks for turning us on to his unique view of the key moments of the war and the main actors in it. Although I don't agree with everything he says, I love his terse writing style and masterful use of tenses.

His essay on Thomas was spot on, although I hardly agree that having a circle in DC named after oneself is paltry recognition. Sheridan has one, but Sherman doesn't.

In the same essay he lambastes Lee as a traitor. His reasoning is understandable, but on shaky ground IMO.

I thought his explanation of why Virginia's welcome centers are so far from its northern border was a stretch, if not a bit of conspiracy mongering.

But otherwise, he make for good reading. His vivid essay on the pivotal role Custer played on day 3 of the Battkle of Gettysburg throws new light into understanding what Lee planned for that day, not to mention it puts some luster back on Custer's reputation.

Also, his essay on the charge of the Iron Brigade was equally vivid and informative.

I also read most of the readers comments. I must say he draws some pretty savvy posters, historians among them. And he's not above responding to their comments.

Albany Rifles
19 Aug 13,, 17:37
JAD,

Yeah, I did call him in an e-mail on the Welcome centers...come on...They catch the US 17 traffic as it merges with I-95...and he overlooks the one at Exit 155 Dale City.

But I do enjoy what he writes.

I'll be sorry when he retires....unless he is given a greater soapbax to yell from.

He always makes me think.

Shek
26 Aug 13,, 05:50
"Victor writes the history" or "Victor writes the rules".

Not the case with the American Civil War. The South wrote the history and ended up writing the rules as well. That's the reason why for 100 or so years the Lost Cause was the dominant view and why it took 100 more years to settle the question of the integration of black Americans into society.

33675

33676

Triple C
26 Aug 13,, 12:11
On an unrelated note:

What, in your opinion, caused the ascendance of Lost Cause historiography in American history after the Civil War? The need for promoting national unity during a period of economic integration? Reaction to black immigration from the South? The rise of New South's political and economic stature?

Shek
26 Aug 13,, 12:43
On an unrelated note:

What, in your opinion, caused the ascendance of Lost Cause historiography in American history after the Civil War? The need for promoting national unity during a period of economic integration? Reaction to black immigration from the South? The rise of New South's political and economic stature?

The Lost Causers did it to protect their own legacies and in reaction to Reconstruction. I think that the reason that it didn't see huge push back was a desire by white America to put the past behind them. The failure and ending of Radical Reconstruction meant that it wasn't a politically profitable enterprise for the majority of northerners, and so I'd choose what you put behind door #1. However, this is an area where I'm less read in.

Blademaster
26 Aug 13,, 15:53
Not the case with the American Civil War. The South wrote the history and ended up writing the rules as well. That's the reason why for 100 or so years the Lost Cause was the dominant view and why it took 100 more years to settle the question of the integration of black Americans into society.



that happened because of Andrew Johnson. He was a closeted CSA sympathizer and hence the call for impeachment. He allowed the southern states to get off scot free and the northern states were furious about it.

Albany Rifles
26 Aug 13,, 16:09
Well, there are a couple of reasons, Triple C.

For starters the study of history was not a formal part of the higher education system in the US outside of military academies. In fact Woodrow Wilson, I believe, was the first PhD in History in the US. So there was not a large body of folks giving a critical eye on the events.

There was tons of material published in the decades after the ACW but it was all written by the participants. For the former Confederates, particularly in the Eastern Theater, The Lost Cause became a way to ennoble their cause and deify their heroes, particularly Lee. It was also an opportunity for some to grind long standing axes (Early v Longstreet) and portray as betrayers any former Confederate who served the “enemy”, i.e., Federal government after the war. Also if you were not a Virginian and had served in the ANV you were considered by some to be not as good. (See Gordon). Of course Longstreet didn’t help himself with his horrible autobiography. And to read Gordon’s autobiography you’d think he was the greater tactical warrior since Harry Flashman!

Douglas Southall Freeman’s hagiography of Lee and the officers of the ANV also fed into this.

The wiki is actually pretty good on this: Lost Cause of the Confederacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Cause_of_the_Confederacy)

And frankly this view of the war existed up through the centennial in the early 1960s with one surge of the Union view in the early 1950s breaking through.

So you may ask why did the Union forces cede the battlefield so to speak? Because they didn’t care! They had won, wrote their histories for themselves and moved on. The war was used as a plank of any political platform when folks ran for office (I served and did X, my opponent did not serve or did Y) and was known as waving the bloody shirt. This was a standard for the next 30 years of political life.

While the economy of the antebellum South had been wrecked by the war and the resulting 13th Amendment the Northern economy had expanded dramatically. It was estimated that 400 millionaires were created by the war economy. Much of this money poured into the West. And the various Homestead Acts encouraged expansion westward. With this 10 new states were added between OCT 64 and 1895. That is a LOT of new political power vested in the new states…which had no antebellum axes to grind.

Northern interest in the ACW really didn’t start until post WW 2 when veterans reinterpreted a LOT of American history looking through the lens of their wartime experiences….and the GI bill paid for it all.

So it hasn’t been “The Victors writing the story.”

And the ACW is very different because of that.

Albany Rifles
26 Aug 13,, 16:17
that happened because of Andrew Johnson. He was a closeted CSA sympathizer and hence the call for impeachment. He allowed the southern states to get off scot free and the northern states were furious about it.

No Andrew Johnson HATED the planter class and wanted to see them punished. But he also knew, like Lincoln, a hard war followed by a gentle peace was a better solution than hard retribution. As the governor of the Union government of Tennessee during the ACW he recognized first hand what the hard war did.

Johnson clashed with the Radical Republicans over Presidential authority. That he was not the strongest of personalities did not help.

But to claim The Lost Cause, Jim Crow, Massive Resistance and the resulting 100 years of disgraceful conduct within these United States is a gross misreading of American history.

JAD_333
26 Aug 13,, 16:26
The Lost Causers did it to protect their own legacies and in reaction to Reconstruction. I think that the reason that it didn't see huge push back was a desire by white America to put the past behind them. The failure and ending of Radical Reconstruction meant that it wasn't a politically profitable enterprise for the majority of northerners, and so I'd choose what you put behind door #1. However, this is an area where I'm less read in.

Right. People who have struggled together and have suffered together, and lose are apt to find solace in explanations for their loss and even likely to exaggerate explanations. There's truth in King Richard's lament that for the lack of a nail the shoe was lost; for lack of the shoe the horse was lost; and for lack of a horse the battle was lost. But, so what? The war was lost. That's one thing.

The other is a more disingenuous idea, the loser's claim that the causes which drove it to secede were under attack by the ultimate victor, when, in fact, the victor's sole motive was to preserve the Union.

Albany Rifles
26 Aug 13,, 17:29
JAD, well said.

zraver
28 Aug 13,, 00:54
The other is a more disingenuous idea, the loser's claim that the causes which drove it to secede were under attack by the ultimate victor, when, in fact, the victor's sole motive was to preserve the Union.

Uhm not entirely true. Afterall control of the senate via the admission of new states was up for grabs. A republican president would likely push for the admission of free states. This would upset the balance and doom slavery. This political pressure would be brought to bear regardless of what Lincoln personally felt. So the motivation was not solely the preservation of the union.

Shek
28 Aug 13,, 01:23
Uhm not entirely true. Afterall control of the senate via the admission of new states was up for grabs. A republican president would likely push for the admission of free states. This would upset the balance and doom slavery. This political pressure would be brought to bear regardless of what Lincoln personally felt. So the motivation was not solely the preservation of the union.

The long-term future of slavery and how the shifting sectional political balance could impact that decades down the road certainly motivated the South. However, the fact that the South rejected the effort on creating the original 13th Amendment to constitutionalize slavery and that it was the South splitting the Democratic Party along sectional lines that resulted in GOP victory make this a manufactured "crisis" in 1860. Thus, while it was a Southern fear, it wasn't a Northern motivation in 1860-1. It took 18 months for Lincoln to get to proposing emancipation, with only the bloodshed in the interim creating enough support in the North for it to even be feasible as a wartime measure.

zraver
28 Aug 13,, 02:31
The long-term future of slavery and how the shifting sectional political balance could impact that decades down the road certainly motivated the South. However, the fact that the South rejected the effort on creating the original 13th Amendment to constitutionalize slavery and that it was the South splitting the Democratic Party along sectional lines that resulted in GOP victory make this a manufactured "crisis" in 1860. Thus, while it was a Southern fear, it wasn't a Northern motivation in 1860-1. It took 18 months for Lincoln to get to proposing emancipation, with only the bloodshed in the interim creating enough support in the North for it to even be feasible as a wartime measure.

I don't think it was decades down the road. As soon as Kansas was admitted the balanced would have been forever shifted. As Lincoln showed with Kansas and later Nevada and West Virginia he was willing to play loose with constitutional rules for state admission. Lincoln could talk about any price to preserve the union, but as soon as some southern senators left (they say seceded, he says they couldn't secede) he pushed through a rigged vote.

I'm not a fan of the south in the Civil War, I would have been an abolitionist. My natural inclinations aside, the south had some legit fears about the national direction. I think they rightly feared that Lincoln would be using backdoor means attack their "peculiar" institution. The North may not have been willing to end slavery by force, but they were willing to end it by hook and crook. Lincoln only delayed on emancipation for lack of a victory the to keep the support he needed of border states.

JAD_333
28 Aug 13,, 04:47
Uhm not entirely true. Afterall control of the senate via the admission of new states was up for grabs. A republican president would likely push for the admission of free states. This would upset the balance and doom slavery. This political pressure would be brought to bear regardless of what Lincoln personally felt. So the motivation was not solely the preservation of the union.

The point is moot, and not accurate, besides. The Corwin amendment as it was called was passed in 1861 and would have added the 13th "article" to the Constitution, the amendment Shek referred to. It would have protected slavery.

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.

It was passed by both Houses of Congress with the required plurality while Buchanan was still in office and sent to the states for ratification. By then the Southern states were already seceding, and they largely ignored it, which undermines the claim they were seceding out of fear the Republicans would work to ban slavery. Even Lincoln endorsed the proposed amendment in his inaugural address:

I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service....holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

His willingness to endorse this awful amendment shows that his first order of business
was to keep the Union together, and he never wavered from that goal till the day he died.

Shek
28 Aug 13,, 11:30
I don't think it was decades down the road. As soon as Kansas was admitted the balanced would have been forever shifted. As Lincoln showed with Kansas and later Nevada and West Virginia he was willing to play loose with constitutional rules for state admission. Lincoln could talk about any price to preserve the union, but as soon as some southern senators left (they say seceded, he says they couldn't secede) he pushed through a rigged vote.

I'm not a fan of the south in the Civil War, I would have been an abolitionist. My natural inclinations aside, the south had some legit fears about the national direction. I think they rightly feared that Lincoln would be using backdoor means attack their "peculiar" institution. The North may not have been willing to end slavery by force, but they were willing to end it by hook and crook. Lincoln only delayed on emancipation for lack of a victory the to keep the support he needed of border states.

1. Any amendment or law to abolish slavery would have required invoking cloture, which as it ended up playing out, could not have happened until 1889.
2. The Corwin amendment that I referenced and JAD cited demonstrates behavior to contrary.
3. Kansas was admitted under Buchanan, and this passed the Senate only because of deep South secession (and therefore those Senators couldn't vote against admission and stopped it).
4. West Virginia and Nevada admission (at least the method) were both products of the rebellion and once again, would not have happened had it not been for secession.

Bottomline, I think it's shaky history to cite Civil War actions as proof of Northern intentions, as it was the Civil War itself that morphed Northern thinking on slavery to the extent that it drove actions as well as created the vacuum of Southern voting power that allowed the evolved positions to win the necessary votes to pass.

Albany Rifles
28 Aug 13,, 16:27
To Shek's and JAD's point...for the North the Civil War was about Union. It was not about slavery. Where some motivated by abolitionism: Absolutely. The majority? No. In fact many regiments across several Federal armies damn near mutinied over the Emmancipation Proclamation. In fact many soldiers who fought in 2 year regiments stated their reasons for not enlisting was the EP changed the war...and that is not what they signed up for.

And had the Southern delegates not walked out on Democratic Convnetion in 1860 then there was an excellent chance Stephen Douglas, the champion of popular sovereignty, would have been elected the 16th President of the United States.

zraver
28 Aug 13,, 18:31
The point is moot, and not accurate, besides. The Corwin amendment as it was called was passed in 1861 and would have added the 13th "article" to the Constitution, the amendment Shek referred to. It would have protected slavery.

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.

Do you see the problem with the wording of that from a Southern perspective? It undoes the Fugitive Slave Act, any state that so wishes could outlaw slavery and grant immediate manumission to any slave on its soil and there would be no recourse for the South. With something like 1 in 5 slaves running away at some point and a significant number headed north that is a huge economic hit.


It was passed by both Houses of Congress with the required plurality while Buchanan was still in office and sent to the states for ratification. By then the Southern states were already seceding, and they largely ignored it, which undermines the claim they were seceding out of fear the Republicans would work to ban slavery. Even Lincoln endorsed the proposed amendment in his inaugural address:

I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service....holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

His willingness to endorse this awful amendment shows that his first order of business
was to keep the Union together, and he never wavered from that goal till the day he died.

My point was simple, the South had some fears of northern action that was based in reality. To which we can also add the battles over tariffs which the south saw as punitive. Its a complex issue.

Albany Rifles
28 Aug 13,, 18:47
Z,

Here are the state secession dates


South Carolina December 20, 1860

Mississippi January 9, 1861

Florida January 10, 1861

Alabama January 11, 1861

Georgia January 19, 1861

Louisiana January 26, 1861

Texas February 1, 1861


They didn't stick around long enough to even consider the issue so I am not buying your argument. And I do not see where the Corwin Amendment weakened or did away with the Fugutive Slave Laws.

And those were getting hard to enforce by 1859.

The bottomline is at the outbreak of the ACW the cards were stacked in the favor fo the slave states and if the Southern States had stayed engaged there would not have been a tipping point against them for quite some time...decades. Because it is doubtful that the Homestead Act of 1862 could have passed with those states in Congress. That would have blocked a lot of the incentive to move westward and organize territories and states.

zraver
28 Aug 13,, 20:37
And I do not see where the Corwin Amendment weakened or did away with the Fugutive Slave Laws.[/quote

If Congress can make no law interfering with the domestic laws of a state, and a state bans slavery and grants immediate manumisison to any state therein... The FSA is dead in that state. Southern states have no legal recourse since the federal government would be barred from interfering.

[quote] And those were getting hard to enforce by 1859.

If there was no anti-slavery sentiment in the North as you claim, how were they getting hard to enforce? The two assertions seem at loggerheads.


The bottomline is at the outbreak of the ACW the cards were stacked in the favor fo the slave states and if the Southern States had stayed engaged there would not have been a tipping point against them for quite some time...decades. Because it is doubtful that the Homestead Act of 1862 could have passed with those states in Congress. That would have blocked a lot of the incentive to move westward and organize territories and states.

The Southern states obviously did not think so. To them the writing was on the wall and it was time to go or give up their, "peculiar institution". Personally I'm glad they jumped ship and lost.

Albany Rifles
28 Aug 13,, 20:55
If there was no anti-slavery sentiment in the North as you claim, how were they getting hard to enforce? The two assertions seem at loggerheads.

Z, where did I make this claim? Never did such a thing. There were large swaths of the North who were strongly pro-slavery (southern Ohio, the 5 southern counties of Illinois, most of Indiana, Maryland, Deleware, etc.) But there were also areas in Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania with strong local opposition to slavery (particulalry in areas with significant Mennonite & Amish poulations) where local sherrifs refused to assist slave trackers which was a requirement of the Law.

JAD_333
28 Aug 13,, 21:30
Do you see the problem with the wording of that from a Southern perspective? It undoes the Fugitive Slave Act, any state that so wishes could outlaw slavery and grant immediate manumission to any slave on its soil and there would be no recourse for the South. With something like 1 in 5 slaves running away at some point and a significant number headed north that is a huge economic hit.

I see the problem but the courts would have sorted it out and in the end ruled in favor of owners of runaway slaves. With their ownership elevated to the Constitutional level, they would have solid grounds to recover their property--a much higher level than the Fugitive Slave Law, a mere act of Congress. Repealing the law would only have ended the obligation of US Marshals to return slaves to their owners. This would inconvenience slaveowners, but not prevent them from reclaiming their property.

But, inasmuch as the Corwin amendment was never ratified, we'll never know. In any case, no lawyer for a non-slave state could convince a lower court that the state can override the Constitution.

What I do see, however--and maybe the southerners saw--is the Federal government regulating interstate commerce in slaves and mandating working conditions for slaves, etc., thus making life hard for slave owners, and in so doing leading to an early birth of the FTC and OSHA.:)

By rejecting the Corwin amendment, the slave states passed up a good opportunity to avoid a bloody war and years of reconstruction. In fact, they didn't even need an amendment. They could have gone on the way things were. Slavery probably had no more than 20-30 years left anyway.




My point was simple, the South had some fears of northern action that was based in reality. To which we can also add the battles over tariffs which the south saw as punitive. Its a complex issue.

As for tariffs etc, they had leverage in the form of slavery itself. They could have gotten much from Congress by agreeing to a plan to phase out slavery. Hindsight is 20/20. But I take your point. Their fears weren't imaginery; but their foresight was very much so.

zraver
28 Aug 13,, 23:17
Their fears weren't imaginery; but their foresight was very much so.

The earlier the civil war comes, the better the chances of the south are for a win. Given the technology of 1860, the 1860's were probably the last decade where the South had something akin to a real chance to win. After that demographics doomed any military option. Had the south broke away in 1840 she might very well have won.

JAD_333
28 Aug 13,, 23:38
The earlier the civil war comes, the better the chances of the south are for a win. Given the technology of 1860, the 1860's were probably the last decade where the South had something akin to a real chance to win. After that demographics doomed any military option. Had the south broke away in 1840 she might very well have won.

That's a modern-day analysis and none too solid. The North had vastly more depth on its bench than the South.

Close to your point, there was a feeling in the South that the Northern states would just let them go, and indeed many in the North felt that way. But there were also wise men in the South who believed the Confederation would not last on its own and predicted things would turn out as they did. Unfortunately, their voices were drowned out by the hotheads and the romantics.

Similarly, in the North, wiser heads understood the destiny of the Union was at stake, as was the concept of self-government.

Albany Rifles
29 Aug 13,, 02:27
Heck the Union was so constrained by the drain on resources of the ACW that The Homestead Act was passed in 1862...a drain on manpower just when me were needed.

A good friend of mine who is a business professor summed it up best. The Federal government fought the ACW with one arm tied behind its back.

With 2 and 3 year enlistments, the Homestead Act, purchase of replacements, etc the Union left a ton of resources on the table.

zraver
29 Aug 13,, 02:27
That's a modern-day analysis and none too solid. The North had vastly more depth on its bench than the South.

Not in 1840 it didn't. The North's industry was still by and large undeveloped and concentrated primarily in textiles not foundries. Its population in 1840 was 7 million vs 3 million a bit better than 2:1. Compare this to 1860 when the North could pull 19 million against the south's 8 million. The North had reached a population tipping point where she could support large field armies in 1860. In 1840 the needs of the fields and cities would limit the size of the union armies and make the North much more causality averse.


Close to your point, there was a feeling in the South that the Northern states would just let them go, and indeed many in the North felt that way. But there were also wise men in the South who believed the Confederation would not last on its own and predicted things would turn out as they did. Unfortunately, their voices were drowned out by the hotheads and the romantics.

Similarly, in the North, wiser heads understood the destiny of the Union was at stake, as was the concept of self-government.


Not disagreeing with you.

JAD_333
29 Aug 13,, 06:10
Not in 1840 it didn't. The North's industry was still by and large undeveloped and concentrated primarily in textiles not foundries. Its population in 1840 was 7 million vs 3 million a bit better than 2:1. Compare this to 1860 when the North could pull 19 million against the south's 8 million. The North had reached a population tipping point where she could support large field armies in 1860. In 1840 the needs of the fields and cities would limit the size of the union armies and make the North much more causality averse.

Z, you're a moving target. :) Now you're back to 1840. Your point that the sooner the South seceded the more successful it would be fending off Union armies would be difficult to prove. But we know that in 1832 South Carolina tried to nullify a Federal tariff law but backed down when Jackson threatened military action. Not one state joined SC. If the South wasn't ready to take on the North then, it probably wouldn't be ready for some time. Does 28 years later seem about right?



Not disagreeing with you.

You're negative even when agreeing. :)

zraver
29 Aug 13,, 15:11
Z, you're a moving target. :) Now you're back to 1840. Your point that the sooner the South seceded the more successful it would be fending off Union armies would be difficult to prove. But we know that in 1832 South Carolina tried to nullify a Federal tariff law but backed down when Jackson threatened military action. Not one state joined SC. If the South wasn't ready to take on the North then, it probably wouldn't be ready for some time. Does 28 years later seem about right?

I was looking at it from a resource perspective. No, in 1832 the rest of the South did not side with SC, but had they done so, the likely hood that the federals could have won is much reduced from what they had in 1860. As AR pointed out the federal government fought the war with one had tied behind its back.



You're negative even when agreeing. :)

Sorry. I throw ideas at the wall of intellect here, if it passes through i incorporate it, if it bounces off I throw it again to make sure, if it still bounces off I discard it.

Shek
29 Aug 13,, 16:16
I was looking at it from a resource perspective. No, in 1832 the rest of the South did not side with SC, but had they done so, the likely hood that the federals could have won is much reduced from what they had in 1860. As AR pointed out the federal government fought the war with one had tied behind its back.

I think you're correct from a resource perspective, but from a political perspective, there's no motivation for the what if. The South controlled the federal government and in 1850 with the Fugitive Slave Act, passed the most sweeping empowerment of the federal government to date in support of Southern interests. By 1860, they had forced tarriffs to their lowest levels in decades and were able to stymie the Northern agenda in the Senate. While they had lost the House to the North, they still had decades left in the Senate and through their own actions "gave up" the Presidency to the GOP. Absent splitting the Democratic Party, Buchanan most likely wins the White House and popular sovereignty maintains a balance enough in the Senate for decades to allow for Southern filibusters.